Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Know Thine Ornithology

My office Admin Department has been quite remiss in its duties lately. There are loose computer and phone cables poking out of a hatch in the floor directly behind my cubicle and no one has attended to it yet. Many an unsuspecting colleague has been snared by the serpentine links and tripped up by the wonky steel hatch, and so, being the civic-minded and considerate person that I am, I pasted this notice directly in front of the hatch:

Of course, the fact that someone who is looking at the floor with adequate heedfulness to read a sign would not stumble over a nefarious breach in the substrate anyway is a moot point.

One of my colleagues took exception (jocosely, I think) to the addendum that I put in parentheses, and recommended me for a Code of Conduct refresher training.

I averred that only a person of a singularly depraved mind would believe that I am referring to anything other than the Blue-Footed Booby (Sula nebouxii), a wondrous long-winged member of the Pelecaniformes order that populates the Galápagos Islands.

Blue-footed booby

I must say it takes a bad egg to know one's endangered feathered friends.

I am thus vindicated.

Tuesday, 18th May 2010: To Call A Spayed A Spayed

Whoosh is the latest (formerly) stray cat to be spayed under Project Second Chance. As a kitten, she was a victim of a road accident which left her with a broken jaw. A Good Samaritan picked her up and sent her to the vet for surgery and treatment. Upon recovery, she was released in the area where she was found, Jalan Choo Cheng Kay, 5 minutes away from my office.

My colleagues and I first met Whoosh while having our lunch at an Indian stall there. The elderly lady who runs the stall has developed an attachment to Whoosh and decided to keep her. I gave Whoosh's caretakers a large tube of Nutrigel supplement to feed her with and offered to take Whoosh to the SPCA for spaying. Whoosh's obliging caretakers gave their assent, and so on a rainy Tuesday night after work, I put Whoosh in a carrier and transported her to the SPCA for spaying.

Whoosh's people came out to wave her goodbye as though she were royalty. "Don't forget to bring her back here!" they reminded me anxiously. "Take care! Get well soon! Let us know how she is doing!"

"Help! I don't want to be here!"

Whoosh's sad face and plaintive meows told me that she was unhappy to be boarded in unfamiliar surroundings. I collected Whoosh after her surgery and brought her back to my Bachelors' Quarters to convalesce for a week or two before she is fit to be returned to her caregivers.

"Ha! More tuna and whitebait, please."

Whoosh is recuperating nicely in my house, and having her fill of canned goodies. There isn't a vitamin or supplement she doesn't like. I will be sorry to have to say goodbye to her in a week, but will be happy in the knowledge that she has people who love her and are praying for her safe return.

Saturday, 22nd May 2010: Kennel Kleanup and other matters arising

"I lurk in dark corners and pounce on giant smelly human feet as they walk by."

My erstwhile fosteree Estel, formerly known as Gypsy, has come back to me for boarding as VJ and Sara will be out of town for 10 days. Estel is a most delightful kitten. I am not sure if she is training for the Olympics or the World Cup but she sure is getting good at whatever it is she is practicing hard for. Right now she is battling the 'Scratch & Play' with grim determination. I think she is going to win this one.

Woke up uncommonly early for a Saturday again as I had agreed to guide and mentor a new batch of volunteers at the SPCA Shelter. CH and some of the other volunteer dog trainers have expressed their desire to help out with animal care and shelter work, and I was pleased to coordinate their efforts.

What a blow it was then that it started raining almost immediately after I got into the Battletank. Still, I could not keep the volunteers waiting, and suggested to them that we proceed with cleaning the shelter anyway, as it would also benefit the animals directly and help maintain health and safety standards in the shelter.

... And this is the way we swab the baskets with soap and disinfectant.

CH was disappointed that we didn't get to bathe the dogs today, but there'll always be next week.

We scrubbed, disinfected and cleaned the Cattery, Maternity Kennels, Kennels D, E, F, G and H and Central Area, took out the trash and put away the donated newspapers and towels.

It was still pissing with rain after 4 hours, so we called it a day and retreated to the SPCA Bungalow to shower and change.

I met up with an old friend, Sasha, at the Tropicana City Mall for a late lunch before going back to the Bachelor's Quarters. Sasha and I had become friends when we attended a Basic Journalism Workshop when I was 17 and she was 15, and we had lost touch when we were in our 20s. Thanks to the double-edged sword we call social networking, we found each other again. Although she had assisted me last year in one of my projects for needy schoolchildren, we did not have much opportunity to talk, so this meeting, 6 months late, was for the sole purpose of catching up.

Went back to the Bachelor’s Quarters to feed and clean up after the Rowdies and do my laundry before going out to a neighbouring residential area to check out a pre-Wesak Day carnival organised by a Buddhist organisation.

The event organisers had initially offered a booth to the SPCA for our fundraising and outreach work and allowed us to put animals up for adoption, but a mere few days before the event, they called up the SPCA and requested 30% of our booth profits, which we felt was exorbitant and unreasonable, given that this was a small-scale community event and the SPCA does not expect to make very much out of it anyway. All efforts at negotiation failed and so the SPCA withdrew from the event.

I decided to check out the event anyway to see if we had missed anything much. It didn’t look like a high-publicity or high-turnout event to me, but I would also take into consideration the fact that I arrived at the event grounds 2 hours before they officially closed. I had hoped to sample good vegetarian food, but I found that all their food was prepackaged in Styrofoam and so I left without dinner and went to the nearest Indian shop for thosai instead.

There was still a lot of unsold goods when I arrived at the event grounds.

"Dzambala bathing" is practiced by Tibetan Buddhists. Devotees use a ladle to pour water over a small upright idol of an infant Gautama as an act of ritual purification.

Children playing arcade games at the electronic games booth.

I have never felt inclined to assist in this particular organisation's soup kitchen rounds, because they utilise and distribute too many plastic bags and Styrofoam food packaging in their operations. If an organisation cannot evolve to embrace its role in safeguarding environmental cleanliness and mitigating harm to wildlife and scavenging animals, then it's not an organisation I want to work with.

Still, I hope their event was a successful and joyous one for them. It’s been an exhausting week and activity-packed weekend for me. With the MNS Open Day but a week away and a million other things on my to-do list, I am feeling a little overwhelmed. Okay, maybe not really overwhelmed. Maybe just plain whelmed.

Covert Operations ‘78, OUT.


Unknown said...

Am hanging on to my 'booby- doopy' X 2!! So am not going anywhere near your office!
Good to learn basics for anything - it was still good voluntary efforts.

~CovertOperations78~ said...

LOL, no worries, Keats! It's endangered seabirds that the trap is after! ;)

KSK does good work and they're really established. Maybe that's why they're a little bit arrogant and unwilling to accept other organisations and volunteers and ideas?

Ellen Whyte said...

Will call you tomorrow to say HI and will check with orphanage for numbers etc. Catch up soon!

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Thanks, Ellen! Am sorting out lunch packs and ice cream for everyone now! Talk to you soon!

Cat-from-Sydney said...

What happens if Whoosh meets Estel? Pure joy and happiness in the household! Perhaps one day I can help you with the dogs. They need some fun and entertainment that only a cat can provide, me thinks? purrr.....meow!

mNadeshiko said...

haha!! kitties~~~!!! me love kitties!

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Dear Kitties-in-Sydney,

Estel is still a very playful kitten and she scares the adult cats by being too active and rather aggressive in her games. I think Whoosh needs to make a full recovery before Estel can play with her.

Cats and dogs do get along well. I've seen so many instances where they live like siblings.

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Dear Ili,

I know you do! Well, it's good thing that neko are considered lucky in Japan, isn't it?

louis said...

"Call a spayed a spayed" and "booby trap"...nice plays on words. Your take on serious issues is of course the chief reason for reading your blog posts, but your verbal craftsmanship delights.

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Thank you for enjoying my blogposts, Louis! I really appreciate it! Writing is one of my favourite pasttimes, as is playing pranks!